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The news came out yesterday that Thomas Chabot is week-to-week with a broken toe, which is obviously not ideal for someone who has already missed eight games this season. Because of that injury though, Ottawa fans will be getting a treat tonight in the form of recently acquired Erik Brannstrom:
The 19-year-old left-handed defenseman has one assist in five games with the Belleville Senators (and 29 points in 46 games overall), and with the BSens playoff push in full force right now, I didn't think he was going to get a chance in the NHL this season. However, he is easily the best defenseman in Belleville, and with Chabot out for at least a few games, I don't see anything wrong with rewarding him for his solid play. There's a solid chance that he will spend the majority of next season in the NHL anyway, so they might as well get him somewhat acclimated to finish off the season.
Losing Brannstrom will definitely be a big hit to Belleville, but their defense corps is actually quite deep right now with Max Lajoie, Andreas Englund, Stefan Elliott, Cody Goloubef, Erik Burgdoerfer, Jordan Murray, and Justin Falk. It's not as if they are all destined to be NHL players, but for an AHL team, they can weather the storm without Brannstrom for now. Furthermore, he will presumably be sent back down for the final few games so that he can hopefully play in the AHL playoffs.
I'm excited to see him play because if he can be anything like the player he shows here, it'll be quite the display:
He might not be fully ready for the NHL level, but I'd be shocked if he didn't at least show flashes of his potential. At the same time, I'm not expecting much ice-time out of him tonight, even if he is already better than half the defensemen on the team. He is no Mark Stone, but I know he is going to become a fan favourite early on.
Brannstrom will be wearing #26 tonight.